Please do not lock your luggage

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Old Jan 24, 03, 12:16 pm
  #16
 
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tsadude, I'd like to direct your attention to this thread on the United board to point out why people are particularly upset about this new rule (especially where bags are screened and opened w/o passengers being able to watch).

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/Forum50/HTML/017065.html

Here's the relevant passage (the last post in the thread):

"We flew UA876 from NRT-SEA yesterday connecting on to ORD. After customs TSA asked us to unlock the bags and they would lock them back after they hand checked them. They sent us on to the long security line for our connecting flight. Our bags missed the flight and were finally delivered this afternoon. One bag had the twist tie. The locks from the remaining bags were placed inside with no twist ties on the outside. The side of one bag was completely unzipped and all of our underclothes are now missing. UA says it is TSA's fault, TSA says it is UA's."

If this is what I can expect when my bags are screened, I will not consider flying a viable option. Other countries screen bags prior to check-in and in front of passengers, so that they can ensure the safety of their belongings. I shudder to think what will happen to the first poor ******* who flies to Thailand or Singapore, has his bags unlocked by you folks at the TSA, has some sort of contraband put into his bags by an airport worker, and then gets arrested in the foreign country which has a ZERO tolerance policy. Who is responsible then? I seriously doubt the TSA will bother to help that person out.
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Old Jan 24, 03, 1:20 pm
  #17
 
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Once these wonderful tamper-evident seals arrive, will TSA put them on all bags, or just those that have been checked?
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Old Jan 24, 03, 1:25 pm
  #18
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by L-1011:
Once these wonderful tamper-evident seals arrive, will TSA put them on all bags, or just those that have been checked?</font>
Actually, I do not know at this time.
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Old Jan 24, 03, 1:42 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by tsadude:
Actually, I do not know at this time.</font>
Because if you don't, there is no way in you-know-where that I will leave my bag unlocked going DFW-JFK-LHR-ARN just to find that something is missing when I get to my destination (or even worse, that something has been added). And since that last leg is on BA with their fantastic weight enforcement of carry-on luggage, I can't pack everything I need in my carry-on.
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Old Jan 24, 03, 2:24 pm
  #20
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Lets put it this way. People were getting ripped off prior to the TSA being around. There is no doubt in my mind that people could have been in your bags even with locks because the old screening companies and airlines gave us bunches of master keys to all kinds of luggage and if you think that a soft sided bag cannot be slit open with a knife then your head is in the sand. The airlines have been fooling you guys for a long time.
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Old Jan 24, 03, 2:33 pm
  #21
 
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tsadude: My head is firmly attached between my shoulders, and no, there is no bucket of sand on it.

It has been pointed out in many threads here the last couple of weeks, that the "normal" thief goes for the easy kill. A locked bag is many times passed up for one that is unlocked. And I will have a much easier argument with the airline if I show them a broken suitcase (slit with a knife, or whatever) than if I show up with an unlocked bag.

It is interesting, though, that this is the very first time that I hear anyone from TSA mention that you have master keys to hard-sided luggage. I though you had it, but it has never been mentioned. So all this talk about leaving luggage unlocked, that's just for soft-sided luggage with a padlock-type-of-lock, is it?
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Old Jan 24, 03, 2:51 pm
  #22
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I cannot speak for every single airport in the nation reference the keys and it would be impossible to know every possible lock combination. What I am telling you is that it was a illusion that your stuff was safe in the first place. The airlines never publish, to my knowledge, what the theft rate is but all of you seem to know this or it would not be a concern.The thieves that you reference are the same people who work below the plane beyond our security and that is what you should be more concerned about.
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Old Jan 24, 03, 3:23 pm
  #23
 
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tsadude, I appreciate that you are here and sharing your views. I can't help but feel that your views, however, are quite cavalier when it comes to our concerns about leaving our luggage unlocked, so I will try to make my point clearer. Did I really think that my luggage locks would stop a determined thief? No. I liken the situation, however, to leaving my car in a parking lot. Will locking my doors and setting my car alarm really stop a thief who is determined to break into my car? Not at all. I've seen thieves jimmy door locks and disable car alarms in a matter of seconds. Do I think that locking my doors and setting the alarm is a sensible deterrent? Of course. I would be a fool to leave my car unlocked when it is unattended in a parking lot. The locks and alarm are intended to be a deterrent, and to potentially slow a thief down. Locking my car and having a visible alarm (ie: blinking red light in the case of my car) let a thief know that he's got a couple of hurdles, and maybe he would be better off breaking into the unlocked car w/o an alarm next to me.

I think of luggage locks as the same thing. My mother was a flight attendant for years. Thanks to her, I know that there are master keys for all kinds of locks, as well as ways to pop open combo locks. I also know, thanks to her, that locked luggage is less likely to be pilfered from or rifled through. Why? Because there are lots of unlocked bags out there. Why spend the time to break into a bag when you can simply unzip one. It's a deterrent, not a true preventative.

Locks also serve to let you know if something is off with your bag. I always put the locks on my bag in a certain way. I know that if my lock is gone, or put on in a different way, my bag has been tampered with. If I'm traveling somewhere like Singapore that has harsh penalties for drug smuggling, and my bag has been tampered with, I can go through my bag prior to hitting customs and make sure I'm clean. Again, it's not a perfect system or an absolute preventative.

We live in a world where small advantages can be meaningful. I know I'm never perfectly safe in my house even with the doors locked, and that my car is never truly safe even with the doors locked and the alarm on. But does that mean I should just throw my hands up in the air and stop doing those things? Certainly not. tsadude, certainly you don't leave your house unlocked when you're gone, and I assume that you lock your car doors. Why should luggage be any different? It seems like a prudent, common sense thing to do, and I think that's why people are so upset. We're not so naive as to think that our luggage is safe with locks on, but why NOT try to take the small measures we can to protect ourselves?

[edited to fix UBB coding]

[This message has been edited by Buster (edited 01-24-2003).]
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Old Jan 24, 03, 3:25 pm
  #24
 
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by tsadude:
The thieves that you reference are the same people who work below the plane beyond our security and that is what you should be more concerned about.</font>
That is exactly what I am concerned about. We have spent millions of dollars to have people like you hired to search for harmless metal objects, while the serious areas of risk are left open.


[This message has been edited by tazi (edited 01-24-2003).]
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Old Jan 24, 03, 6:02 pm
  #25
 
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I'm not sure there is a real good answer to the heart of this problem.
tsadude doesn't want luggage locked because it's a hassle to check the bag if they have to cut a lock and possibly damage a bag doing it.

I agree that an ideal situation would be for the passenger to be present to observe the search process and personally unlock his/her bag.

I may be wrong (wouldn't be the first time) but I think the main problem there is a time constraint. As long as people are allowed to check in as close to take off time as they do, it would mean too many missed flights to have the passenger present for this.
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Old Jan 24, 03, 7:38 pm
  #26
 
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by JustanotherScreener:
I'm not sure there is a real good answer to the heart of this problem.
tsadude doesn't want luggage locked because it's a hassle to check the bag if they have to cut a lock and possibly damage a bag doing it.

I agree that an ideal situation would be for the passenger to be present to observe the search process and personally unlock his/her bag.

I may be wrong (wouldn't be the first time) but I think the main problem there is a time constraint. As long as people are allowed to check in as close to take off time as they do, it would mean too many missed flights to have the passenger present for this.
</font>
The main problem is that faulty equipment was purchased and no thought was put into how this screening was going to be carried out. Time constraint isn't the problem. The problem is that some airports make it impossible to have land side screening so that the passengers can be present.
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Old Jan 24, 03, 7:48 pm
  #27
 
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by tazi:
The main problem is that faulty equipment was purchased and no thought was put into how this screening was going to be carried out. Time constraint isn't the problem. The problem is that some airports make it impossible to have land side screening so that the passengers can be present. </font>
Honestly, I don't believe the equipment is faulty per se. I've seen the CTX machines in operation for over a year now. I really think it's just a software fix that's needed. (Not that that's an excuse, just my thought from what I've seen.)

As for the airport layout, yes that is another big problem. Since many of the airports were built before they had ANY screening, everything since has been a retro fit. Truth is it will probably take a lot of construction at all the airports to make things like that better. At my airport they do landside for some airlines and behind the scenes for others. I'm told it was mainly a space issue.

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Old Jan 24, 03, 9:34 pm
  #28
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Plastic zip ties. Aren't these those hard plastic things you need to cut off with a knife, scissors, etc. that I can't carry on the plane?
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Old Jan 24, 03, 11:33 pm
  #29
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"Please do not check any luggage. Thank you."

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Old Jan 26, 03, 12:55 am
  #30
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by tsadude:
As a luggage screening supervisor I will ask you all to not lock your luggage. </font>
No, and $!@% you.

Get your $#@! together, screen all luggage in line-of-sight, and start taking responsibility for your policies and the effects they can have.
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